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Can a foreigner permanently live in Korea?


Korea is a beautiful country with a rich culture, delicious food, and friendly people. It is no surprise that many foreigners want to move there permanently. However, the question remains: Can a foreigner permanently live in Korea? The answer is yes, but it requires a lot of work and preparation.

Understanding the Visa Process

The first step to permanently living in Korea is understanding the visa process. There are different types of visas, such as work visas, student visas, and permanent residency visas. Each visa has its own requirements and limitations, so it is important to research and choose the right one for your situation.

Meeting the Requirements

In order to obtain a visa in Korea, you must meet certain requirements. For example, if you want to work in Korea, you must have a job offer from a Korean employer and meet certain educational and experience requirements. If you want to study in Korea, you must be accepted into a Korean university or language program.

Language Barrier

One of the biggest challenges foreigners face when moving to Korea is the language barrier. While many Koreans speak English, it is not widely spoken outside of major cities. It is important to learn Korean in order to fully integrate into Korean society and make friends.

Finding Housing

Finding housing in Korea can be challenging for foreigners due to language barriers and cultural differences. It is recommended to hire a real estate agent who can help you find an apartment or house that meets your needs.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Korea can vary depending on where you live and your lifestyle. It is important to budget accordingly and be aware of the costs of things such as housing, transportation, food, and entertainment.


Korea has a high-quality healthcare system, but it can be expensive for foreigners who do not have insurance. It is important to research and obtain health insurance before moving to Korea.

Work Culture

The work culture in Korea is very different from Western countries. It is important to understand and adapt to the Korean work culture in order to succeed in a Korean workplace.

Social Life

Korean society places a strong emphasis on social activities and relationships. It is important to make an effort to meet people and participate in social activities in order to fully integrate into Korean society.

Cultural Differences

Korea has a unique culture with its own customs and traditions. It is important to be aware of and respect these cultural differences in order to avoid offending locals.

Education System

Korea has a highly competitive education system that places a lot of pressure on students. If you have children, it is important to research schools and understand their expectations and requirements.


In conclusion, it is possible for a foreigner to permanently live in Korea, but it requires a lot of work and preparation. From obtaining the right visa to adapting to Korean culture, there are many challenges that must be overcome. However, with patience and perseverance, living in Korea can be a rewarding experience.

Can a foreigner live in South Korea forever?

Having the option to stay in South Korea for an indefinite amount of time is only possible if you possess a permanent residence, which is recognized through an F-5 type visa.

How long can you stay in Korea as a foreigner?

If you are a U.S. passport holder visiting Korea for tourism or business purposes for a period of less than 90 days, you can apply for a K-ETA which costs 10,000KRW. You can apply for this on the K-ETA website.

Can you retire in Korea as a foreigner?

Upon retiring in Korea, there are certain tasks to complete such as obtaining a Korean (Alien) Registration Card (previously known as the ARC). This card is required for foreigners who plan to stay in Korea for more than 90 days, and must be obtained at a local immigration office within 90 days of entering the country.

How can I legally live in Korea?

In order to qualify, the individual must have resided in South Korea continuously for at least five years and be considered an adult under South Korean civil law. They must also have a good reputation and be capable of sustaining their own lifestyle through either their own assets or skills, or through being a dependent member of a capable family.

How long can an American live in Korea?

US citizens holding a valid passport can visit South Korea for up to 90 days for tourism or visitation with a Long Term Visa. For more information regarding entry requirements and guidelines for foreign visitors with a Long Term Visa, please refer to the provided link.

Can you live in Korea as an American?

Generally, transitioning to South Korea can be a smooth process if you prepare beforehand. While the country has historically been hesitant towards foreign migration, this attitude has shifted with the influx of international companies entering its borders.

Networking and Building Connections

Networking and building connections are important in Korea, especially when it comes to finding job opportunities. Koreans value personal relationships and referrals, so it is important to attend networking events and meet new people.


Korea has a well-developed transportation system that includes buses, subways, and trains. It is important to understand how to use the transportation system in order to get around efficiently.

Food and Cuisine

Korean food is delicious and diverse, with many different types of dishes to try. However, if you have dietary restrictions or preferences, it can be challenging to find suitable options. It is important to research and find restaurants that cater to your needs.


Korea has four distinct seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. It is important to prepare for the weather and have appropriate clothing for each season.


Korea has a thriving entertainment industry, with K-pop music, Korean dramas, and movies gaining popularity around the world. There are also many cultural events and festivals throughout the year that offer a glimpse into Korean culture.

Celebrating Holidays

Korea has its own set of holidays and traditions that may be unfamiliar to foreigners. It is important to understand and respect these holidays in order to fully integrate into Korean society.


Korea is generally a safe country, but it is still important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. It is also important to understand the laws and regulations in Korea in order to avoid any legal issues.


If you want to become a Korean citizen, there are certain requirements that must be met, such as living in Korea for a certain period of time and passing a language proficiency test. It is important to research and understand the citizenship process if this is something you are interested in.

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